Military Spouse Life

The War On Mental Illness (Not Guns)

Let’s talk about mental illness for a second.

I had a great post planned on writing for today, but in wake of the terrorist attack last night, I’m going to get on my soap box for a moment. It’s my blog, and I can do that!

I feel for the people of Orlando right now. Even though I am from Newtown, CT where 26 of my townspeople were murdered by Adam Lanza, and I was less than an hour from NYC when the towers fell, and I worked a block away from where the Emanuel AME nine were murdered, I cannot fathom how the families and friends of this tragedy are dealing with this. I have an idea, but not first hand knowledge.

That said, it is easy for me to look from the outside and point fingers. While the topic of gun control is HOT right now, especially in the wake of Orlando, IT’S NOT THE GUNS FOLKS!!!!! I firmly believe we are dealing with people who are dealing with mental illness.

I could literally go on all day about Adam Lanza who is responsible for the Newtown massacre and  how the gun was not at fault! Adam Lanza was actually denied a gun from Walmart. Interestingly, when I went home in May, we went to said retailer, and no guns were for sale there. The gun was registered legally to Lanza’s mother.

Lanza had a mental illness. He had a psychiatrist and was prescribed medication for his mental illness. He opted not to take the medication or follow up with his health care providers. Allegedly, his mother was instrumental in his decision not to continue to seek help.


Probably because America as a society shames mental illness. Look at what happened in the 1970’s when we started deinstitutionlisation? We started closing down mental hospitals, shoving pills down the throats of the mentally ill, and tried moving on with life while people are not getting the proper treatment for the issue at hand.

When you deal with cancer, you get support from friends and family. You join support groups, you seek out others who are dealing with the same/similar illness and build each other up. You wear pink, tattoo a “survivor” ribbon on your ankle, and the “save the ta tas” car magnet.

When you’re diagnosed with depression, mania, schizophrenia, you don’t tell people. You pop the pill and sweep it under the run. It is perfectly acceptable in our society to have diabetes,  but God forbid you have a personality disorder.

In some instances, our mental illness helps us in other areas…such as say creativity, because you see the world differently. I am dedicating a lot of time and effort to showing this in my book Literary Crazy. I also want people to start embracing the world of mental illness, and stop shaming it. We need to see the beauty in having a mental illness and stop shaming it. You know why? Because people with mental illness deserve a fighting chance at a normal, happy life. Someone who is happy with life, does not walk into a school, church, or nightclub and open fire on innocent people.

Medication is not enough. Mental illness needs support. Mental illness needs to be as accepted as cancer, lupus, diabetes, endometriosis, etc. Maybe once we start embracing mental illness, and treating it fairly, we will stop having mass shootings of this caliber.


We Did It!

Well, it’s been a little over a week sine I posted, but all is well.

We got married (in the sense that we signed the paperwork and had a small get together, but no ceremony, no ring exchange (yes, we do have wedding rings), no official “I do” but who needs all that anyway?

Not us!


Here is a picture of us at our get together after the hockey game (because everyone goes to a hockey game on their wedding day, right?



Here is a group shot….with some missing.


These are our camouflage and purple cupcakes….yes, I made the inside camo for him! Of course he smashed mine in my face, and I was blowing purple frosting into tissues for days….and I have yet to figure out how to get the video up for you 😦

As for everything else, I’m down with the flu again. Hopefully I can get back to writing more in a few days….


Military Spouse Life

Traditionally Nontraditional

Bill and I have spent the last two years beating to our own tune….er…you know what I mean. We don’t do things because we are “supposed” to do them. We do them because we want to and it works for us.

Our wedding is turning into a classic Bill and Tina moment….or week.

Please let me explain…

The Stingrays decided we couldn’t get married on the ice, so we then thought we would get married at the gazebo downtown where we had our first date….but that got complicated. We want to save money and have it for the baby, not spend it on getting married. We will do the whole big wedding thing when Talia is old enough to participate…so we are doing this the easiest way possible.

We went yesterday and applied for the license (which is $70 freaking bucks in South Carolina!!!) which we picked up today. Then Bill ran the paperwork up to his buddy Josh who is actually a tattoo artist, but is also a wedding officiant. Josh signed the paperwork, which is post-dated for Sunday, because that date is important to us (it is the two year anniversary of meeting). When Bill gets home, we will both sign it (I’ve been busy baking), and then Sunday when we wake up, we are married! I’m willing to bet there are less than a few people who have done it this way, if anyone. It’s probably not even allowed by the probate court, but I’m sure you won’t tell!

We have some people coming with us to Sunday’s Stingrays game, and then it’s out for Italian food. Super easy, super simple, super Tina & Bill style.

Now onto my Panettone dilemma.

Italians have a special Christmas cake (more like a fruit bread than a cake) called Panettone. It’s really old world style and traditional. My mother would always get it for my great-grandfather for Christmas because he LOVED it.

Every year since he’s been gone (10 years) I’ve gone out and bought the bread. I don’t eat it. I don’t even like it.

Last year was the first Christmas Bill and I were together. I bought a coffee flavored version of it with chocolate chips, hoping it would be better. It was eehhh. Bill claimed to like it, but most of it sat on top of the refrigerator, probably until February.

I could try making it myself (I AM a baker) but you need so many special items, it could get costly, and I’m busy baking things I know I like…but making it myself, I might be able to “fix” it.

It also wouldn’t be the same as buying it in that neat shaped box.

So what do I do? It’s a tradition for Italians, but so are many other things I make. It’s more about my great-grandfather than anything. I’m really having trouble letting go. I still wear his dog tag around my neck, next to Bill’s. I won’t even take it off on my wedding day 😉

His flag from his funeral (United States Army) sits on my dresser, along with a picture of him and my great-grandmother. It’s been hard. I still get depressed on his birthday and the day he passed away on. I’m talking uncontrollable depression. I usually take the day off from work, because working turns into crying.

I just know it’s a waste of food to buy the bread, and it’s me not letting go and moving on. I also know Talia will one day ask me why we have this tradition of buying the bread on the refrigerator every year and not eating it.

It would be sad not to buy the bread. Maybe Talia will be more like my great-grandfather and LOVE the bread. I guess I just answered my own question, and I better keep stashing it on top of the fridge with just one slice missing from Bill eating some. Maybe Talia will like the tradition…..

Military Spouse Life

Way to Wait Until The Last Minute

So here we are, 24 days away from getting married……and getting married on the ice at the Stingrays game is a no go because of insurance. We are SOOOO disappointed! Plan B? Well, we don’t really have a plan B. Bill thinks getting married in the parking lot while tailgating before the game is acceptable, but something about a parking lot hot dog just doesn’t scream wedding to me.

We are trying to keep this simple so we can just be married and have the money we would have spent on a wedding, for Talia. Then, we were planning on doing a full fledged wedding the way we want it when she (and possibly her siblings) are old enough to participate.

So I’m lost.

Before we found out we were pregnant, we were going to have the actual ceremony at the gazebo downtown because on our first date, we ended up there, laying in the middle of it, just talking. We had already applied for the permit, and technically have the right to be there from 1200 to 1300 on the day we are supposed to get married.

Bill still wants to tailgate.

All this aside, we did manage to pick up her furniture for the nursery last night. It’s still in boxes…and I’m sure it will be in boxes for at least a few weeks, before we get around to putting it together. At least we have it though.

We also discovered today, Talia likes music. They have something called Belly Buds meant for the baby to listen to music in the womb. We plugged it into my Pandora on my phone, and have her listening to classical music. She INSTANTLY started having a dance party in there. I really hope it’s because she’s liking the music and not freaking out. Bill thinks she wants to listen to country, I think we should just leave it up to Beethoven at the moment.

Other big news? Well, our baby shower is next Monday, AND the Stingrays (in a bit of a redemption move…) have selected Bill as the Hero of the Game for December 9th. Each game, a member of our military (active / veteran / retired) is selected as the Hero of the Game and Bill being my hero, I nominated him! I will try and get some video to show you!

Okay, well, it’s off to go and plan a wedding…or maybe we will just wing it 😉

Military Spouse Life

This $h!+’s Getting REAL!

Two posts in ONE day? Dang! I told you I was busy……BUT I’m also really excited!

With just 26 days to go, and no real solid plan (we MIGHT be getting married on the ice at the SC Stingrays Game, or we might be doing it in the parking lot…we haven’t received confirmation on the whole “married on the ice” part yet) we bought our wedding rings today. In typical Tina and Bill tradition, we did our own thing. What do I mean? Well, I am not getting one, but two small bands, one for each side of my engagement ring. It’s not a traditional band, but I’m not a traditional girl. Mine is actually not too far fetched. What woman doesn’t want TWO wedding rings?

Bill on the other hand…..well, as you get to know us, you will understand better, but my redneck, er, fiance, picked out a Max-4 Camouflage wedding band. Yes, let that sink in. The man picked out a wedding band in camouflage. In case you just can’t picture this in your mind, here is a picture! In fact, I had to buy two bands, or his would have been MORE than mine! I went super simple and inexpensive, but still!

Once we picked his ring up (mine had to be ordered), we went and completed our baby registry. There is something so fun about taking a little gun and running around scanning things! Again, we tried to be practical, and we did a lot of research and shopping around (after my cousin told us the bedroom set we wanted for Talia was 1/3 the price at Target versus Babies R Us!) There are so many baby items out there which are suggested, and Babies R Us had SO many impractical “needs” on their suggested list, but we are trying to keep things simple and affordable. People at my job are throwing a small baby shower, which is so amazingly sweet because we didn’t think we were having one at all, but we don’t want to register for anything we don’t need or is a waste.

We did purchase the furniture ourselves today. We had figured we were about to shell out $2,000 at Babies R Us, and we argued that the furniture was still a good deal because it converts from a crib to a toddler bed, to a full size bed. We figured 2k wasn’t bad for something she could potentially have through adulthood….then Stephanie pointed out Target has the better prices….yeah, we paid just over $600 with tax and have the crib/toddler bed/day bed, dresser with the changing table on top, and the glider. Now we just need a mattress and a chair for daddy (would you believe Walmart, which I affectionately refer to as Dungmart because of their bad business practices has a damn camouflage recliner? It’s true…and it’s more than my glider with foot rest! Haha!)

With the registry at Target, we noticed there’s a countdown. It’s only 81 more days until Talia arrives (if she’s on daddy’s military time, and not mommy’s leisurely “I’ll get there when I’m ready” time). I wish it would hurry up. We need to get to the wedding, then fast forward to Talia.

In the meantime, I know Bill is worried about being a good daddy, and I just don’t know how to reassure him. He’s already doing everything right. You should see him buying things for her and being careful about our spending and planning so she has everything. You should also see him just stare at her ultrasound pictures. It’s so adorable. Even with the first picture, when all she looked like was a little jelly bean, he just kept staring at it. It’s actually precious! Hopefully he realizes how amazing he is! In the meantime, I’ll just keep telling him!